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N. Korea urges tighter antivirus efforts against prolonged COVID-19 pandemic

North Korea 11:14 April 18, 2022

SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- North Korea called again for its officials Monday to step up efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a message carried by a state-controlled main newspaper, stressing the need to not let their guard down.

It came on the day when South Korea removed all social distancing measures with the exception of the mask mandate, in a major move to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the Workers' Party of Korea, urged officials and party members to stay wary of the pandemic that is "getting worse day by day" and to follow antivirus measures more thoroughly.

"Officials should always ask their respective region or groups whether or not they feel even the slightest sense of laxity, or if there is any room for negligence and idleness," it said.

The paper said the rapid spread of the "stealth omicron variant virus" since late last year has further exacerbated the pandemic, referring to the prevalence of the BA.2, the "stealth omicron" subvariant.

The regime has claimed to be coronavirus-free but has imposed relatively strict border controls since January 2020 after the COVID-19 outbreak.

This composite image, provided by Yonhap News TV, depicts antivirus measures in North Korea. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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